In a great post over at Decline of the Empire, Dave Cohen takes a look at the real significance of the debt ceiling debate. In it, he uses one of Dmitry Orlov's best quotes, one with which I have to wholeheartedly agree:
"Although people often bemoan political apathy as if it were a grave social ill, it seems to me that this is just as it should be. Why should essentially powerless people want to engage in a humiliating farce designed to demonstrate the legitimacy of those who wield the power?"
If you're familiar with Dmitry's work (and you should be), you know that he embraces that uniquely Russian fatalism, and applies it to the United States, which is why I think his opinions are so valuable. I've long said that the United States has essentially become a parallel Soviet Union - a police state run by an out-of-touch oligarchy that is completely seperate from the people they are supposed to govern. Like them, we have an economic system that is failing for an ever-larger amount of people, and requires ever more draconian measures to force people to "buy in" - from criminalizing poverty, to denying health care to the jobless, to overt propaganda outlets like FOX news. I touched a bit on this in Police State America. Most significantly, we have abandoned pragmatism in place of a strict economic ideology - low taxes on wealth, a weak state, and no form of collectivism whatsover. Just like Marxism, in the real world it is failing our citizens, yet this orthodoxy is never questioned. Instead of reading our copy of Marx's writings and the sayings of Lenin, Americans now brandish Hayek and quote Ayn Rand. This quote sums it up nicely:
...libertarianism is basically the Marxism of the Right. If Marxism is the delusion that one can run society purely on altruism and collectivism, then libertarianism is the mirror-image delusion that one can run it purely on selfishness and individualism. Society in fact requires both individualism and collectivism, both selfishness and altruism, to function.
I've wanted to write on this at length, but today is not the day. But I did want to share that quote. Once we realize that we are powerless to change the system, we can start directing our energies elsewhere, to hopefully more productive ends.